Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Iraq War Reshapes Military Landscape: News Analysis

With its superior military strength backed by its economy and technology, every move of the United States would have a profound impact upon the world's military landscape. But the Iraq war seems more influential than the previous conflicts, according to an article in Beijing-based newspaper Global Times.


With its superior military strength backed by its economy and technology, every move of the United States would have a profound impact upon the world's military landscape. But the Iraq war seems more influential than the previous conflicts, according to an article in Beijing-based newspaper Global Times.

The Iraq war has three features, according to the article.

First, it was based upon a very aggressive pre-emptive war theory.

According to this theory, the United States can justify its military attacks if it feels there is a potential military threat from another state.

Iraq was the unfortunate first guinea pig for the application of this imperial war theory.

Second, the war was multi-purposed.

Aiming to secure the long-term interests of the United States by eliminating a potential menace, the main objectives of the Iraq war were to control energy, send shockwaves through Asia and maintain US hegemony.

Third, the war has affected the whole world.

Without offering any convincing excuses, the United States fought this war for its own interests. Therefore, it was not surprising that some allies of the United States opposed it.

Differing in ways and extent of participation, many countries were involved in this war.

The war has had a realistic, immediate and far-flung impact on world politics, economy, military, diplomacy and culture, the article said.

With regard to the global military situation, its impact has been felt in three ways.

First of all, the major powers will probably adjust their respective military strategies accordingly.

Though it may be too early to talk about when and how they will make such a adjustment, it is certain that some changes will be made to their military strategy.

The Iraq war went beyond the expectations of many military experts. It was a new kind of war - the first true information war in human history, in which information and intelligence played a decisive role.

It was also a war characterized by air and ground attacks as part of an integrated strategy.

Those who have similar conditions can follow the US example in striking at their rivals, while those who have conditions similar to Iraq must consider how to win over the United States and avoid the same fate as Saddam Hussein.

What is worth noting in particular, said the article, is that the successful implementation of Washington's pre-emptive war theory could encourage some countries or areas to follow suit.

Israel has already taken military action against Palestine many times using the excuse of fighting terrorism.

Some Japanese political and military figures have threatened repeatedly of staging a pre-emptive attack on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Even the Taiwan authorities have attempted to take pre-emptive action against the mainland.

What the United States has done has set a dangerous precedent for handling world conflicts. If it is to be followed by other countries or areas then global and regional peace would undoubtedly be destroyed.

Second, high-tech weapons will be given greater importance.

To some extent, the victory in the Iraq war can be regarded as a victory for the Rumsfeld-style of fighting wars.

The war has told both the United States and the world that it is the quality rather than the quantity of troops that will determine the outcome.

Iraq became a test field for various high-tech weapons, which helped US troops win the war.

US armed forces are therefore likely to be transformed according to Donald Rusmfeld's theory. Their weapons and equipment will remain the most advanced in the world by being upgraded even further.

Other countries will find it wise to build their armed forces by focusing on quality. The development of high-tech weapons and equipment in accordance with their respective capacity and operation demands is a strategic issue related to the combat capability of their armed forces.

Accordingly, the role of weapons will be more emphasized in operation command and planning. Military personnel will have more training in mastering high-tech weapons and equipment. And operation rules will be amended to reflect the updating of weaponry and equipment.

The Iraq war also highlighted the importance of a multi-dimensional battle plan that incorporates ground, sea and air forces which is operated electronically.

Therefore, all the services of the armed forces of various countries should be developed in a co-ordinated way.

Third, Asia may become a "powder keg" of the world.

In recent years, the gunsmoke over Africa has settled down. Europe has gradually calmed and America has maintained its peace. Only Asia has witnessed continuous armed conflicts and local wars from the Middle East to Central Asia, South Asia and other regions.

None of the historical, ethnic and religious contradictions and issues that have ignited conflict have been settled. Moreover, some of them have even worsened.

The United States has always been concerned about Asia.

In the wake of the Kosovo war, the emphasis of the US strategy has shifted to Asia.

All three countries in the alleged "axis of evil" are in Asia and most of the seven countries listed as US nuclear strike targets are also Asian nations.

The first victim of the United States pre-emptive strategy is in Asia as well.

However, the United States should bear in mind that overthrowing Saddam may have only solved one problem, but might induce a hundred more.

Without peace in Asia, the United States cannot be secure.

US military action against Iraq may intensify fundamentalism and anti-US sentiments in the Middle East, which in turn could result in the growth of terrorism.

Though Israel, a US-recognized democratic country, has won almost all its wars against Arab neighbours, it has never enjoyed peace.

Moreover, some countries may also take advantage of opportunities provided by the Iraq war to accelerate their pace towards becoming military powers, which is definitely not good news for their Asian neighbours.

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